When it comes to cycling, training and diet are considered the main items that help the body produce the intensity and power to achieve the set goals.
But, what you eat is not enough to provide your taxing body with all the essential nutrients it needs and, that’s where supplements come in.
Supplements fill the gap left by dietary intake and give the physical nutrient requirement for your body to function at optimal level. Whether you’re a pro cyclist, you bike for recreation or just want to up your training game; the following supplements can boost your performance.
When choosing cycling supplements, whey protein often tops the list because of its ability to have a complete amino acid profile. What’s even more interesting is that its mixture of amino acids matches those a body needs.
Whey is rich in amino acids such as glutamine and branched amino acids which help in muscle recovery and growth of lean tissues. It also has a rapid absorption, making it the favorite protein supplement for cyclists who are training.
Stuart Phillips, a leading research professor at McMaster University advocates for leucine-an amino acid found in whey protein- as a component that promotes the synthesis of new muscles.
You can’t overlook protein as it aids in recovery, improves coordination and lessens fatigue by giving your body energy in times of glucose depletion.
Whether you ride a bicycle for fun or you’re a completive cyclist; you need energy reservoirs for endurance and focus. Caffeine works by binding to receptors which then stimulates fat burning and increase energy expenditure which improves cycling performance.
In fact, research has shown that moderate ingestion of caffeine increases high-intensity cycling performance.
Caffeine, a typical drink in homes and offices, has become the main ingredient in sports gels and energy drinks. Apart from enhancing alertness, caffeine increases speed to help you train and ride longer.
While it’s found naturally in coffee and some tea, it can also be supplemented especially when you need a boost in energy levels.
Citrulline is a nonessential amino acid that is involved in the synthesis of Nitric Oxide which boosts blood flow and brings more oxygen as well as nutrients to your muscles during an intense cycling exercise. During a high-intensity training on the bike, your body produces ammonia and lactic acid which causes exhaustion.
However, a supplement rich in citrulline malate buffers these two acidic conditions and reduce fatigue as well as increase aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
While citrulline can be obtained from eating watermelon and legumes, due to the role it plays in the body especially during an intense exercise, there can be a high risk of deficiency.
Supplementation with citrulline malate improves heart health by preventing the buildup of plaque. As a pre-workout supplement, citrulline increases energy production during an intense outdoor biking activity.
Multivitamin and minerals
The benefits of vitamins and minerals cannot be stressed enough more so for a cyclist. The key to staying healthy when riding is to avoid deficiencies brought by lack of specific vitamins and minerals.
James Hewitt, a sports scientist, and former competitive cyclist talks about how improving your well-being all boils down to incorporating the right supplements.
For cycling, multivitamin and mineral supplements are beneficial as they replenish lost nutrients, aid in energy production and maintains the required vitamin levels to keep the body healthy.
When cycling, electrolytes are depleted through sweat. Therefore, your body will need a replacement of minerals such as sodium, magnesium, and iron.
Through a good multivitamin and mineral supplement, your body will be able to retain more fluids and retain electrolyte levels which keep your body recharged and energized.
When riding indoors, you sweat more as there’s no wind to cool your body. Diane Stibbard, a two-time Canadian athlete of the year and personal trainer, recommends including an electrolyte drink to replace the minerals lost through sweat.
Creatine is one of the favorite supplements for bodybuilders, but its benefits are also applicable to cyclists. This supplement is important for improving strength and brain function.
Research shows that creatine can offset fatigue, and improve body’s workload without resulting in weight gain. This supplement works to increase lean muscle mass which is essential for endurance cycling.
It also helps to produce explosive energy by reducing the amount of lactic acid and give a sprint cyclist that extra power to keep pushing even when exhausted.
For long distance races, creatine stimulates reproduction of ATP which gives you strength and speed to complete repetitive sprints.
Before using this supplement, it’s essential to find the type of creatine that will suit your cycling. Some types of creatine such as creatine monohydrate can cause bloating or extracellular water retention.
The Bottom Line On Supplements For Cyclists
Not all supplements have the same benefits, and since every cyclist has different needs, you need to choose a supplement that targets the specific area of deficit.
By consuming the right supplements, you can work out in confidence knowing that cycling will help improve your endurance, enhances cardiovascular health and muscular strength.